Sir William Bruce’s Hopetoun House: the architectural, economic and social analysis of a post-Restoration Scottish country seat
Bassett, Charlotte Abney
This dissertation examines the patronage, design, and construction of Sir William Bruce’s Hopetoun House (circa 1698-1721). It was built as the country seat of the Hope family, who became the Earls of Hopetoun in 1703. While scholars have discussed Hopetoun House from a theoretical perspective, the aim of this dissertation is to explore country seat from a practical point of view. A country seat was much more than a large house: it was a family’s socio-economic and political headquarters. The entire landscape, as well as the house, had to represent and support the family. A necessary investigation into the source of the Hopes’ wealth and rise up the socio-political ladder will lead into a study of how Hopetoun’s landscape was adapted to agricultural purposes. This portion of the landscape was organised around the designed areas of the landscape. Nessled in the centre of this dually functional and formal landscape was Hopetoun’s main house. As with the landscape, Bruce designed the main house with function, as well as theory, in mind. On the one hand, it was built to showcase the prestige of the Hope family. On the other, it had to accommodate and support a large household. In short, this dissertation will showcase the complexity and humanity of Hopetoun House’s design. This methodological method can be incorporated into current country house historiography.